Maputo — Flood waters are receding in the city of Chokwe, in the southern Mozambican province of Gaza, but authorities have warned that it is still too early for citizens to return home.
Radio Mozambique has reported that Chokwe is a ghost town covered in filth and debris left by the flood that engulfed the city.
According to Nazario Zandamela, the commander of UNAPROC (National Civil Protection Unit), troops will today begin a clean-up operation in Chokwe together with staff from the municipal council.
Chokwe has been reconnected to the electricity grid and has piped water.
However, banks and shops have not yet reopened.
It is estimated that it will take between a week and a month for life in the flood hit areas around Chokwe, Guija and Chibuto to return to normal, particularly in the urban areas where the situation is most complex.
The United Nations estimates that 54,000 people fled Chokwe and nearby villages in the Limpopo flood plain to an accommodation centre at Chiaquelane. However, few people at the camp have tents, tarpaulins or even mosquito nets.
Some residents have begun to return home to begin cleaning their houses, but they are being warned of the risk of the outbreak of diseases, particularly malaria, diarrhoea and cholera.